Pride was the only thing on the line for Coahulla Creek High School’s boys soccer team.
North Murray was playing for a region title.
Despite being a man down in the waning minutes of Friday night’s game at Coahulla Creek, the Mountaineers got a goal from Ismael Cruz in the 78th minute to take a 1-0 win over the Colts.
The win pushed North Murray (12-3, 11-1 Region 5-3A) back to the top of the region standings after Cartersville — which beat the Mountaineers earlier this week — lost on Thursday night. The Mountaineers can earn a region championship for the second year in a row with a win versus Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe in Wednesday’s season finale. North Murray won the Region 7-2A title last year.
“All year it seems like it has been up and down with our play even though we have gotten a lot of wins,” North Murray coach Matt Chambers said. “I think that loss to Cartersville really focused the team for this game and we thought we had given away our season. We got a second chance to win region, but you won’t get any second chances in the state tournament.”
Coahulla Creek coach Eric Parker said coming into the game his team was locked into the region’s No. 3 spot for the state playoffs. Even though his Colts (11-5-1, 9-4) had nothing to gain or lose, Parker was proud of his team’s effort and knew the game would be tightly contested.
“We are two very similar teams, who both play that fast-paced Mexican style of futbol,” Parker said. “We had our chances, but we didn’t put the ball in the net. They got the through ball to Cruz, and he finished.”
Chambers also knew it would be close after the Mountaineers won on penalty kicks when the teams met earlier this month in Chatsworth.
North Murray’s defense, keyed by goalie Manuel Gonzalez, recorded its eighth shutout of the season.
“It is one of those deals where whoever makes the first mistake, the other team is going to take advantage of it,” Chambers said. “Manuel is a brick wall back there. There is no other way to explain what he does back there.”
Gonzalez had eight saves — including stopping two deflections that banged off the crossbar — as the Colts took 13 shots on goal. Coahulla Creek’s Missael Fraire was just as effective, making seven saves, until Cruz got past the Colts’ defense and beat Fraire to the right.
“I was disappointed we let them score with 10 on the field,” Parker said.
North Murray was down a player after midfielder Jacob Dotson became irate after a no-call on a tackle at midfield.
Dotson screamed at the official and was given a red card. He then verbally taunted the official, clapped his hands in his face and stormed to the bench area, kicking a soccer ball that nearly hit his teammates before taking his jersey off and throwing it on the track surrounding the field. A Whitfield County sheriff’s deputy and Coahulla Creek Principal Phillip Brown escorted Dotson off the field.
According to the Georgia High School Association’s Constitution and By-Laws, any player who receives a red card is suspended for the following game. Players will receive a two-game suspension for a red card with “foul or abusive language.”
Chambers declined to comment on the situation or speculate on how many games Dotson would miss.
• Coahulla Creek girls 2, North Murray 1: Jenny Contrera scored a pair of first-half goals, and the Lady Colts (6-10, 4-8) made that stick in the win over the Lady Mountaineers (1-10, 1-10).
Alonda Bennett scored the only goal that Coahulla Creek goalie Melissa Cabrera allowed in the game.
• Murray County boys 2, Morris Innovative 1: The Tigers (7-9, 6-9 Region 7-2A) led until the final 10 minutes, when the Indians (12-3-1, 12-2) scored twice.
Murray County’s Jose Ruiz scored in the 71st minute to tie the game 1-1. Around 30 seconds later, Alberto Soto assisted Humberto Alvarez for the go-ahead score.
“They played a really good game,” Indians coach Marco Burgueno said of Morris Innovative. “Hats off to them, because they played us well. We had most of the possession throughout the game, but we just couldn’t put it in.”
Miguel Villafuerte scored at around the 50th minute to put the Tigers ahead.
“We controlled the game and Murray County did everything we wanted them to do,” Morris Innovative coach Ernie Dempsey said. “I felt like we were the better side tonight. We played phenomenal and we probably should’ve had two more goals.”
• Murray County girls 5, Morris Innovative 0: Freshman Vivian Gamboa scored twice, while Nayeli Jacobo added two goals and an assist to lead the Lady Indians (9-7, 9-5 Region 7-2A).
Paiton Bradford scored the other goal.
Senior goalkeeper Kelsey Pack made one save in the senior night game, while Murray County took 51 shots.
“It was nice to win on senior night,” Lady Indians coach Mandy Ledford said, noting the team was without senior forward Cheyenne Sancho, who injured her left knee in Thursday’s game versus Coosa.
Murray County finishes the season at Model Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and at home versus Calhoun Wednesday at 5 p.m., and Ledford hopes to have Sancho back for at least one of those games.
The Lady Tigers (1-15, 1-14) only had 10 players for the game.
• Inclement weather led to the postponement of all five varsity games involving area teams on Friday.
Makeup games scheduled for today are LaFayette at Northwest Whitfield at noon and Heritage-Catoosa at Dalton at 3 p.m.
Ridgeland at Southeast will be made up at 5 p.m. Monday, while North Murray at Sonoraville will be made up at 5:30 p.m. Wednes-day.
Coahulla Creek coach Michael Bolen said his team would make up its home game against Adairs-ville next week but did not have a date set.
• Northwest’s junior varsity boys shot a 421 at the Peachtree Golf Center’s Par-3 Tournament in Duluth.
Chandler Lomax and Tyler Clayton each shot a 68 on the par-54 course to lead the Bruins, who also received scoring rounds from Tyler Linder (69), Alex Canady (72), Makray Kyer (72) and Elliot McBrayer (72).
Northwest coach Jim McGrew said there were around 15 teams participating but did not know the Bruins’ place finish.